Saudi King Abdullah's desire to convene a meeting between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious communities was reported Tuesday by the official Saudi Arabian News Agency. "I invite representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith," the king was quoted as saying. The theme of the expected conference was reported to be "respect among the religions."
The news agency reported that senior Muslim leaders authorized the idea and consultations would be made with Islamic religious authorities from other countries. The king went on to say that "with God's help we will meet our brethren from other religions, including those who believe in the Torah and in the Gospel, in order to find ways to defend humanity."
This, he said, comes after humanity has lost its morality, sincerity and steadfastness. Also, the religions were confronted by challenges such as dealing with the disintegration of the family and ever-expanding Atheism, he said. King Abdullah revealed that he had been preparing the convention for two years and discussed it with the Pope when he visited the Vatican a year ago. Abdullah has not determined a specific date for the meeting.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger expressed his satisfaction over the announcement. "Our hands are extended to any peace initiative and to any dialogue that will bring about an end to terrorism and violence," he said in a statement. "I have said on numerous occasions that the true path to the peace that we long for is through interfaith dialogue."
Which is all well and good but reading this Associated Press account doesn’t give me the feeling that the Israeli Ashekenazi Chief Rabbi will get the Saudi King’s Jew seal of approval.
Prominent Saudi cleric, Sheik Muhammad al-Nujaimi, said he saw no reason why any Saudi official, including Abdullah, cannot meet with Jewish religious leaders. "The only condition is for the rabbi not to be supportive of the massacres against the Palestinian people," he said.
The real problem for the Saudis is going to be to find a rabbi who is not a Zionist and is still prepared to break bread with the King. This effectively takes the Satmar Rebbe off the Saudi guest list. I bet the Saudis will pick some wing-nut fringe group like the Neturei Karta as the only group deemed 'clean and Jew enough' to meet with the Saudi King. Besides, Ahmadjadine already broke the ice by hosting members of the Neturei Karta at the Iranian Holocaust Hate Fest. Either that or one of the wackos from Rabbi’s for Human Rights (as long as they are not Jewish).
If the Israelis are smart they will show a united front before the Saudi King starts with any official pre-conditions. Personally, I would vote for the Rabbi Rambo to represent to the Saudi King. What can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for any Breslover who knows how to kick butt, blog, and yet, still finds the time to read Torah and Talmud.